May 28, 2013

Affirmative action is not what it used to be.

The NYT reports.

Uncomfortable paragraph on page 2:
A black associate at one Houston firm, who requested anonymity so as not to jeopardize his chances of making partner, used a familiar legal term to describe his unease at work, saying he sometimes felt there was a “rebuttable presumption” that he was there to fill a quota and was not as qualified as white colleagues.

44 comments:

campy said...

Gosh, I wonder what could have caused that?

Scott M said...

From the article;

There is diversity fatigue.

No, there is not. As Geddy Lee once opined, "folks are basically decent."

What people are "fatigued" about is being constantly beat about the head and shoulders with the politically-correct diversity stick. Throw in a dash of race-hustler fatigue for good measure.

Clyde said...

If all animals are created equal but some animals are more equal than others, those who have benefited from supra-equality really have no leg to stand on (even if they have four!) when the other animals assume that they have, indeed, benefited from said supra-equality.

TMink said...

It is injustice fatigue. Grace is only needed where justice cannot be met. There are wonderfully qualified working people from every creed, race and gender. So called affirmative action made everyone but white males suspect. It is inherent within the system.

Trey

AprilApple said...

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

--Martin Luther King Jr.

Has been replaced with this:

Unionist democrat progressives cheat our children.

Tank said...

There is an odd flip side to this. In those very progressive schools, with aggressive affirmative action programs, the young white males are likely to be more qualified, on average, than you would expect for that particular school, because so few slots are left for them.

Looking back at my own law school, it's quite amazing that I got in at all.

Bob Ellison said...

Scott M, that's great imagery. I'd like to see how a talented artist like Chip Ahoy might depict a person being beaten with a PC diversity stick.

Bob Ellison said...

The stick should be shaped like a tennis racket.

edutcher said...

The word, "racist", is fast reaching the end of its shelf life, thanks in no small part to its greatest beneficiary.

Terry said...

Obama: "Every one of you has a grandma or an uncle or a parent whose told you at some point in life as an African American you have to work twice as hard as anyone else if you want to get by."

Now consider, for a moment, the biography of Barack Hussein Obama.

George said...

Can't fake rainmaking.

campy said...

I think some Diversity Reeducation consultants are about to get a big contract from a Houston law firm.

Jay said...

he sometimes felt there was a “rebuttable presumption” that he was there to fill a quota and was not as qualified as white colleagues.

Rebuttable, how?

I would assume the same as it is likely true.

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...


Well, my folks were none too fond of Jews, but always preferred a Jewish doctor because on those days only the best of the best Jews could get into med school. The same motivation to a lesser extent is at work today in favor of white professionals.

Zach said...

Reading the article, I'm not surprised. All the way through, the beneficiaries of affirmative action are talking about very clear and distinct benefits -- hirings, promotions, job assignments. The benefits to the firm are much less tangible, and don't even rate a mention in the article at all.

There's no sense at all that the firm understands what it wants or what it's getting from these programs.

When Ms. Higgins was at the firm, he recalled, the diversity committee sat down together regularly. “You were scared not to attend,” he said.

Does this sound like someone remembering a positive experience?

John said...

That presumption that one is there to fill a quota, real or implied, rather than because of merit is the most corrosive effect of AA as currently practiced.

No black, woman, Puerto Rican or other "protected" minority can ever know that they are good at what they do. No matter how good they are, there will always be that doubt.

How about you, Ann? Do you ever wonder to yourself "Did I get this professorship because I am good or because I am a woman?"

How can you even know for sure?

I do not mean to imply that you are not a good professor. Based on the little I know, I think you seem to be.

My daughter is a ChemEng and damn good at what she does. Also very successful careerwise. But she can never know that for sure nor can she ever know how good she is. It really pisses me off.


John Henry

Bob Ellison said...

John Henry, Al Gore can know that he's good at turning environmentalist craziness into money. Barack Obama can know that he's good at getting elected. Taylor Swift can know that she's good at collecting awards for sub-standard efforts.

It's all a matter of knowing what you're good at. The Obamas seem very knowledgeable.

AllenS said...

Affirmative action is still what it's always been. A double standard. Racism.

SGT Ted said...

So called affirmative action made everyone but white males suspect.

And the skin color and feminist identity groups did this by making white males suspect on campus.

SJ said...

Does that article even mention cases like Elizabeth Warren?

She became a statistic in support of diversity for the University she taught at, even though:

1. Her Indian ancestry is disputed and poorly-documented
2. Her Indian ancestry is small, much smaller than the percentage of white ancestry for President Obama
3. Her history shows little need of Affirmative-Action help to overcome problems caused by poverty/minority status.

Terry said...

Camille Paglia has opined that much of the growth in things like 'womens studies' 'black studies' and 'hispanic studies' was essentially affirmative action for academics. In the 70's colleges wanted to quickly increase the proportion of non-male, non-white students and faculty, so they made disciplines just for them.

Leland said...

I realize this is a background piece for the SCOTUS case, but I see it as another a week, another NYT article on how "The South is still racist!"

Yet, this is how the NYT reports: In Texas legal circles, there have been some notable symbolic gains for black lawyers at the top of the profession; both the State Bar of Texas and the Houston Bar Association just elected their first black presidents.

I don't have a lawyer to speak of, but when I see my doctor, I don't consider her a symbol. I see her as a doctor. NYT reporters see symbols. That's the racism of AA.

Balfegor said...

Re: Jay:

Rebuttable, how?

Through superlative performance, of course.

Tim said...

Two wrongs never made a right.

Of course the black associate at one Houston firm feels there's a rebuttable presumption he's there to fill a quota - because that's what affirmative action teaches all of us: that the beneficiaries cannot succeed on their own, either because of their own deficiencies or, of course, white male racism and or sexism.

This is the bed the liberals have made for all of us. Nice, isn't it?

Best of all, there is no exit strategy.

Peter said...

"It's not a quota, it's a numerical goal" -- Spoken by a diversity trainer.

BUT, the key to understanding how this works is: there is always a point at which the affirmative action is not applied.

That is, one may be promoted over and over with a little help from hidden or not-so-hidden preferences.

But at some level an organization just can't afford to have anyone less than the best they can get. And this is the point where the affirmative action wears out.

And, honestly, this can be hard on affirmative action beneficiaries. After all, they've probably told themselves that they would have obtained their previous promotions without the preferences- and at least a few probably would have.

BUT if you've never had to really compete at this level, how well can you expect to do when the affirmative action supports are suddenly yanked away- especially if everyone's been lying about the existence of these supports all along?

twinsdaddy said...

I know there have been many books written about top ten myths, but of course this one is never included.."If you're African American you have to be twice as good".I've been in Federal Government for 30 years, and anyone who has been there knows it's one of the great lies.
HR came to us 4 years ago and stated that there seemed to be quite a few complaints about our technicians and we needed to eliminate the worst offenders. With the help of the Union we came up with a list of the ten we all thought should be let go. Of course after we informed HR that 9 of the 10 were African American they said they'd get back to us. We are still waiting,maybe I missed the e-mail on how to proceed.

twinsdaddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

When I was working at a consulting engineering firm in NY, we had designed the upgrade for the water treatment plant in Hoboken NJ, and while we were not the construction engineers on site, we were in charge of approving shop drawings and we had some nebulous supervisory capacity, which was complicated enough for me to understand... I was just one of the draftsmen.

The end result, for the purposes of this comment, is that we sent people to the site daily to take pictures and to look at how the construction was going. It was partially CYA for the inevitable law suits and that we just could not take the contractors at their word for much of anything. My mentor George thought that it would be a good idea if I went with him a few times so I see how the drawings came to life as it were.

One of the things I learned, something having to do with legal liability, is that if we saw that the building contractors were doing something "wrong", we were not to correct them, but to take pictures and report back, unless what we saw was something that could put someone's life in immediate danger. I had a hard time with the concept and would ask George, you mean if you see the concrete mixture is not right you don't say anything? my recall of a long explanation was that there was an independent inspector who's job it was to make sure that the mixture was right and that if he interfered, he would be making our company responsible from that moment on, regardless of what the contracts said.

A long winded way of saying Affirmative Action has made somebody responsible for something they had no business taking responsibility for.

David said...

The guy is telling the truth.

Clarence Thomas got there first but he is ignored.

wyo sis said...

And then they say "If you see something say something."
Right.
Because that always works out well for the person saying something.

edutcher said...

Bob Ellison said...

John Henry, Al Gore can know that he's good at turning environmentalist craziness into money. Barack Obama can know that he's good at getting elected.

Really?

Or could any clean, articulate black under the tutelage of William Ayers, David Axelrod, and ValJar have the same success?

Is it him or them?

SteveR said...

Qualified minorities hardest hit, unexpectadly

AllenS said...

Here's my story of unfairness. I did more or less what you'd call factory work, and I also did shift work, which means every 4 weeks we rotated from days to afternoons to nights. We were paid every other Thursday. We were supposed to get 8 sick days a year, but once you reached 5, your boss told you you were taking too many sick days.

The boss of the department always was someone who came up through the ranks. Sometime in the late 1980s we got our first female boss who went to school for the job. As you can imagine it was a rocky start for her.

I worked with a black man, who must have decided that he was going to push the envelop as far as sick days goes, and proceeded to call in sick on Fridays after our payday. He was up to 12 sick days by September before our female boss confronted him about it. He ran to HR and evidently said that he thought racism might have something to do with it.

When he told me the story, I laughed, and said: "WTF? Did you ever think that it might look that you're not sick because you only get sick on Friday after payday." He looked at me and said: "You too, huh?"

HR had a talk with our boss, because a black wearing a suit from HR was in her office, and they must have told him to watch it also, because he only took off one more Friday after payday for the rest of the year. Too funny.

Charles said...

Yeah, file this under "no shit."

You want to create racists? Take a bunch of middle-class, over-achieving white students, grant them admission to in a prestigious, highly-selective college, and then surround them with minority students who received lower test scores, had lower grades in high school, and faced relaxed admission standards.

White students seek out courses which have higher-than-average African American enrollment because they assume they're gut courses. And white students assume (based on race... and the reality of the admissions process): "If that black guy had my test scores, he'd be at Harvard."

It's tragic. The white students end up thinking thoughts they'd never have remotely considered before. The black students are uncommfortable (and end up dropping out at high rates.)

But "diversity" feels good, so let's do more of it.

Michael said...

"Can't fake rainmaking" says it all. At some point the market overwhelms good intentions, pie charts, percentages and excuses. At some point it is decided that admission to the partnership should be based on contributions to the partnership. Hard biscuits.

Tank said...

Can't fake rainmaking.

Response: People don't give business to black lawyers because they are racists.

What else would it be?

Jay said...

Balfegor said...


Through superlative performance, of course.


I'm skeptical!

Oso Negro said...

Interesting to note that the New York Times searches for lack of diversity in Houston, Texas because their reporters simply cannot find a New York City law firm with diversity issues. Oh wait...the story didn't say that.

cubanbob said...

It must be soul-corrosive to always feel that your success is simply given to you as a lottery gift rather than stemming from your hard work and talents. Not that I am advocating this position but all else being the same if quotas are to be had perhaps it would be better if like the old days the minority had to be twice as good to make it. At least those who made it had incontravertable proof of their superiority.

David said...

Tank said...
Can't fake rainmaking.


My old firm was one of the first and most successful at recruiting minority lawyers. There were some clunkers, as there are in all hires. We were hardly a pack of liberals, but the commitment to this program was genuine.

The minority (and mostly black) lawyers did well overall, especially some of the lateral partners. They made their own rain. Without doubt, some of this rain was because the firm was able to access clients who were looking for firms with a diverse workforce. But it also arose from the talent of the lawyers, some of whom had not risen easily, and most of whom were plugged in to a growing national cadre of successful black business people and professionals.

In my firm's case a accurate perception of self interest drove the hiring more than some do gooding notion. The results were very positive. Black lawyers had to produce, and they did.

jr565 said...

Sheesh. Way back in the 70's the show Good Times addressed the idea of black people being hired as a quota.

And back then it was a bad thing. The mother is hired by a company, but it quickly becomes apparent that they just hired her because they need to,fill their black quotas. And she quits in outage. Cue the audience clapping at her heroic stand!

Back then, that a the liberal position. Now, its the quota that's the liberal position.and the black civil rights position.

Pathetic.

Unknown said...

After the last kerfuffle re research on race and IQ, I spent some time looking at hard core, peer reviewed, journal-reported research (for which, in all fairness, I have no background to fully understand). There is/was an enormous focus on research for why IQ (that unarguably predicts success in academia and other arenas) is not genetic and therefore can't be racial, and why IQ tests (which unarguably correlate to prediction of success) don't measure the right stuff.

I would think it almost a tautology that if a group always has a higher average test score, you should expect a greater fraction (compared to the general population of the group) in endeavors for which the test predicts success. Similarly, if a group always has a lower average test score they should be less represented. To demand a higher fraction of representation is to risk pushing people into positions for which they (on average) are less likely to succeed, reduce chances for capable individuals to achieve their full potential, and reduce the chance of success for the organization.

One might expect the percentage of Asian & Jewish mathematicians & medical doctors to exceed the percentage of general population, with fewer white, Hispanic & African descent than the population-factions would suggest.

Methadras said...

They know who you are now black associate guy.

Alex said...

Look it's more chum for the Althouse hillbillies!